Satellite pictures of the Earth at night clearly demonstrate that people congregate and live where they can have access to water, especially freshwater. Freshwater makes up only about three percent of all the Earth’s water and it may surprise you even more to know how little of this supply is actually freshwater that can be seen. Surface water is literally a drop in the bucket. A mere 0.29 percent of the Earth’s total freshwater supply is found in lakes and swamps.
This buried treasure moves slowly beneath our feet through spaces and cracks underground but it is intimately connected to surfacewater. All life depends on this water that can’t be seen. When precipitation falls to Earth, some flows downhill as runoff into a stream, lake or ocean. Some evaporates, and plants take up some. The rest soaks into surface soil and trickles through rocks.
Of the world’s total water supply, more than 96 percent is saline. The remainder, less than 3 percent, is freshwater. And, of the total fresh water, more than 68 percent is locked up in ice and glaciers. Another 30 percent of freshwater is in the ground. Rivers and lakes that supply fresh surface water for human uses only constitute about 0.27 percent of fresh water, yet rivers are the source of water for many people.
The water that makes all life possible today is the same water that kept dinosaurs alive, before man roamed the Earth millions of years ago. The amount of water has not changed. It has continuously been recycled from the ocean to the air and back to the Earth, changing from a solid to liquid to gas again and again.
Without water, there is no life. So protecting this valuable resource should be at the top of everyone’s list. The supply of freshwater may seem endless if you have access to clean water. But what do you really know about the Earth’s water supply and what condition it is in? How much do you know about the hydrologic cycle—the amount of water used at home, in factories, in energy production or in agriculture?
So you have decided that a home aquarium or a tranquil water garden is a great gift idea or you want one yourself to help you release stress. Before purchasing any aquatic animals or plants, you should know more about the strain they may cause when they get into an environment where they don’t belong. Millions of people own home aquariums, and water gardening is one of the fastest-growing segments in the garden industry.
This fish tale is unfortunately true and all the characters are real. It involves monster fish, a greedy pet dealer, an international smuggling operation, undercover agents, mobile surveillance teams and a cross-border investigation. While the fish has generated two science fiction monster movies, “Snakehead Terror” and “Frankenfish,” the real horror is the possible introduction of snakeheads in the Great Lakes ecosystem.
Even if you can’t see didymo, you could be spreading this invasive freshwater microscopic alga.
Asian carp leave a trail of DNA just like criminals at a crime scene. Like the forensic scientists who use DNA technology to identify criminals and take them off the streets, fish biologists are using the same technique to detect Asian carp to keep them from causing mayhem in the Great Lakes. At the heart of DNA evidence is the biological molecule which serves as an instruction manual and blueprint for every living thing.
If Asian carp infiltrate the Great Lakes, it is predicted that they could severely harm the ecosystem and disrupt the region’s $7 billion sport-fishing industry. So the uncertainty about the status and source of Asian carp environmental DNA (eDNA) that has been found in Lake Erie is cause for concern. Fish and wildlife officials are troubled after finding positive results from samples taken in 2011 and again from samples taken between July 31 and Aug. 4 this year.
Main Office: Tom Ridge Environmental Center 301 Peninsula Dr., Suite 3 Erie, PA 16505 814-217-9011